The best podcasts to see you through lockdown

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Hannah Verdier

As we head into the final stretch of lockdown, let these nuggets of audio pleasure transport you to the beach, haunted houses and beautiful stately homes

Fancy a holiday? Dive in

Instant sunshine is guaranteed after minutes of listening to Alan Carr’s Life’s A Beach. Carr chats to his famous friends about their holiday memories – but it’s not all five-star luxury. Michael McIntyre, Robbie Williams and Romesh Ranganathan are among those lined up to reminisce about caravanning in Wales, making friends in Ethiopia and the simple joy of falling asleep just before take-off. A great way to escape. 

The poshest podcast around

If Bridgerton (or Downton Abbey) has left you wondering what it’s really like to live in a stately home, listen to the aptly named Duchess, where the Duchess of Rutland Emma Manners reveals the secrets of life in an ancestral pile. It soon becomes clear these ladies don’t swan around in tiaras as Manners talks about her crash course in becoming a duchess. Soothing voices, history lessons and a virtual stroll round gorgeous gardens are a recipe for relaxation as she interviews a raft of inspiring women who run the beautiful houses. 

See London through fresh eyes

You don’t need to leave the house to soak up the sights and sounds of London when Clara Amfo’s guests do it for you. Each week in This City with Clara Amfo, the DJ asks celebrities including Mark Ronson, Mo Gilligan and Louis Theroux to talk about their favourite London gems. Her warm personality means she clicks with all her guests, who take listeners on a fun and sometimes emotional journey from Tottenham to Tooting and everywhere in between. 

The podcast that goes bump in the night

Radio 4’s The Battersea Poltergeist is not one to listen to late at night under the covers. Danny Robins brings to life the story of Shirley Hitchings, who spent years haunted by banging, scratching and the strange goings-on of a ghost. Part-dramatisation and part-documentary including an interview with Hitchings herself, this is atmospheric enough to send shivers down your spine. 

Unearthing celebrities’ secrets

The king of subtly extracting information from anyone he meets has been using his locked-down time productively, inviting all the high-profile people he’s always wanted to interview to speak to him on Grounded with Louis Theroux. Whether he’s talking to Lenny Henry about his childhood or finding out why Miriam Margolyes will never waste her energy on ironing, Theroux is perfect company to spend a relaxing hour with. 

Gone but not forgotten

True crime has been the runaway success of podcasting, but if blood and gore aren’t your idea of entertainment The Missing offers intrigue and the hope that you could help solve the mysteries it features. Journalist Pandora Sykes looks into cases of those who have vanished, including a charismatic grandmother last seen waving goodbye to her family, a young woman who went missing after a trip to the supermarket and a teenager who disappeared after boarding a train to London. 

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